Stupid Shit That Pisses Me Off…

About a month ago, I was asked to review for a new journal that I have never reviewed for before. I’ve been about two weeks delayed in submitting my review. When I first received the manuscript I looked through the introduction and just felt off about it. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it felt familiar. I tucked it away until I could give it closer attention.

I reopened it recently to finish the review and this time was struck even more forcefully with the knowledge that I had read part of it before.  I recognized particular phrases because I remembered having considered the wording interesting. I went to my EndNote and, sure enough, found the paper that these authors had plagiarized substantial portions of.

Damn it.

I stopped my review and emailed the associate editor immediately, but I still can’t help but feel irritated.  The study was generally interesting and there really was no need to plagiarize the sections they had. It was simply laziness. And that laziness means that they thought that the journal and/or reviews would also be too stupid or lazy to detect their malfeasance.  I’m already generally cranky because it is going to snow even more tonight and this has made my crankiness even worse. I hate feeling like I have had my time wasted because some dumb fuck could be bothered to write a couple of original paragraphs.

What the fuck is wrong with people?

kanye head shake

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16 responses to “Stupid Shit That Pisses Me Off…

  1. I thought only 7th graders tried to pull that crap.

  2. I’ve caught this myself and wondered with everything being on the internet how stupid are people that they think they can get away with it?

  3. I don’t think I’ve ever read the introduction of a paper I’m peer reviewing.

  4. Stupid shit indeed. One hopes the editors will uphold the honor and reputation of this fledgling journal by dropping the hammer on the plagiarists (since plagiarism of this sort is, by definition, scientific misconduct).

    Snow also is stupid shit, at least past a certain point. I hope you get relief from it soon.

  5. I was a reviewer and found plagiarism–of one of my own review articles. Pointed it out to editor. Paper published anyway. Plagiarists are shit.

  6. Forward the evidence to the funders! Plagiarism is part of the official definition of scientific misconduct! Maybe CC a journalist like Ivan Oransky…

  7. I don’t know what is wrong with people either, but i wish it wasn’t! I am always amazed at how I can recognise something I have seen before, whether it is written by a student or in a paper. As you said ‘something seems off’.

  8. Also, wtf is wrong with the editors? run the goddamn thing through a plagiarism detection software BEFORE you waste my valuable reviewer time…
    Plagiarism detection is as trivial as copy editing with proper software. They have the software, I don’t. Sure, I will still spot-check a few phrases here and there via google (and blow up the images to check for obvious photoshopping, if they are high res enough), but it’s the editor’s job, not mine!

  9. Same thing happened to my PhD adviser my first year in grad school. He was reviewing a paper when he noticed a particular phrase that stuck in his mind. He googled that phrase and the whole introduction was lifted from another paper. He was so pissed – he called the editor right away and the paper was rejected. I think it happens more often than we’d like to admit.

  10. @ CPP: “I don’t think I’ve ever read the introduction of a paper I’m peer reviewing.”

    What do you read? I’ve seen you remark that you don’t read the methods section, and I doubt you bother with the discussion. Do you stop at the author names and title, and recommend just based on that alone? wtf? Just curious here. It would explain a lot that I’ve experienced.

  11. I reviewed a proposal once and recognized a couple of sentences – which turned out to be from a review paper I had written. I don’t think I did anything about it though because it wasn’t clear to me who could deal with it and the proposal was poor anyway.

  12. I was sent a textbook chapter once that turned out to be cobbled together out of one gob of plagiarism after another. Not to mention being totally incoherent — the publishers were apparently trying to use faculty reviewers instead of hiring any in-house editors.
    This was the only reviewing job I’ve ever had where they made me sign non-disclosure clauses, so worried were they about someone plagiarizing THEIR stuff. Guess it takes one to know one…

  13. That said, I wonder what folks think about the concept of self-plagiarism? When somebody publishes repeated papers in the same area, I see nothing wrong with reusing phrases in the introductory material. I mean, how many different ways can you say ‘The current theory is based on Frabney’s research on fruit bats (2001)’?

  14. in the words of the great philosopher, “Only be sure always to call it please ‘research’.”

  15. I closely read the results, figures, and figure legends.

  16. You have remarked very interesting details! P.s. Nice web site =)

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